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Chemistry behind hair straightening


Relaxer Function
• break hair's disulfide bonds to loosen or "relax" the curl

Rebonding • Same but claim to provide the
added benefit of improved shine and texture along with the new shape

Reducing agent Time Frame

sodium hydroxide; ammonium thioglycolate
take less time and don't require thermal heat tools to accomplish the straightening effect

several hours depending on the length and texture of hair. It involves thermal heat, so blow drying and flat ironing are necessary for rebonding the hair into its straight shape. safe to use on color-treated or highlighted hair


can not be done on colortreated or highlighted hair because of the increased damage it will cause


Eleven protofibrils are bonded and coiled together to make a microfibril. Hair keratin consists of many protein alpha-helices. Three alphahelices are interwoven into a left-handed coil called a protofibril.Permanent Hair Wave Introduction: The formation of disulfide bonds has a direct application in producing curls in hair by the permanent wave process. Hundreds of these microfibrils are cemented into an irregular bundle called a macrofibril. These in turn are mixed with dead and living cells to make a complete .

the disulfide crosslinks return them to the original position when the tension is released. Although it may seem incredible. in order for hair to grow 6 inches in one year.strand of hair. These bonds enable keratin to have a somewhat elastic nature. If the alpha -helices stretch unevenly past each other. . The alphahelices are extensively cross-linked with disulfide bonds from cysteine. 9-1/2 turns of a -helix must be produced every second.

. Revie w reaction. The alphahelices in the hair strands are bonded by disulfide links. Use Reducing Agent: In the permanent wave process. Different protein chains or loops within a single chain are held together by the strong covalent disulfide bonds.Disulfide Bonds: Disulfide bonds are formed by oxidation of the sulfhydryl groups on cysteine. a basic reducing substance (usually ammonium thioglycolate) is first added to reduce and rupture some of the disulfide cross-links.

The sheer numbers of water molecules are able to disrupt some of the hydrogen bonds which also help to keep the alphahelices aligned. The hair is put on rollers or curlers. The helices are able to slip past each other and will retain a new shape in the hair drying process as new hydrogen bonds are formed. The hair strands are able for a short time to maintain the new curl in the hair.Temporary Wave: When the hair gets wet. Permanent Wave: For a permanent wave. Since the alpha- . water molecules intrude into the keratin strands. we will continue the discussion from the use of the reducing agent.

(also called the neutralizer) is added to reform the disulfide bonds in their new positions. . since new hair growth is of course not treated. The permanent will hold these new disulfide bond positions until the hair grows out.helices are no longer tightly cross-linked to each other. An oxidizing agent. the alpha-helices can shift positions in relation to each other. usually a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide.

damaged or colored hair. The hair then molds around the shape of the perm rod. breaking some of the disulfide cross-links within and between the protein chains and makes the hair to swell and soften. Hair perms can be done with acid or alkaline perming solutions. Perming of hair typically takes about 2 h. . Alkaline base is suitable for normal and resistant hair whereas acid perm solutions are milder and are ideal for fragile. It is the neutralizing solution that reforms the disulfide bonds of the hair and sets the new curls. it is actually the perm rod that will determine the type of curl one will have.Process of perming Hair perming involves the use of chemicals to break and reform the disulfide bonds of the hair. The hair is washed and wrapped on a perm rod and waving lotion is applied with a base. A hair perm usually lasts about 3–5 months. It takes about another 24 h for the perm to fully settle and its impact to be completely felt. the hair is rinsed and a neutralizer is applied. The base solution reacts with the Keratin of the cortex. After a specified period of time. While the solution is important.